Teachers who use Google Classroom with their students were treated to a few significant upgrades this week. Most notable are Google Classroom email summaries, the ability to annotate Google Docs on a mobile device, and the option to include images in forms.
Since Google Classroom was first released, one of the most asked for enhancements has been the ability to communicate with parents. Earlier this year, Google modified the product so teachers could share calendars outside of Google Classroom. Now, according to a post on the Google for Education blog, “Once invited by a teacher, parents and guardians can receive automated daily or weekly email summaries of student work and class announcements.” This is a streamlined method for teachers to improve their online presence and increase communication with parents.
Math teachers often annotate student work, and now those annotations can take place on Google Docs accessed via a mobile Android device. Students can annotate their work as well, and save their work (PDF format). Users should note that annotations are not automatically saved, and will be lost if not saved. The annotated documents save only in PDF format. Students and teachers can also annotate a PDF, in which case the modified file replaces the original. Though slightly different than most other tools in the Google ecosystem, the benefits of this tool outweigh these incongruities. .
The ability to include images in forms opens up a variety of opportunities for polling, formative assessments, and more. YouTube videos can also be added to a form, though not directly embedded in the question (it is viewed prior to the question). Google’s short blog post provides a simple visual which demonstrates the power of this new feature.